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20 June 2016 - 1:33pm
 
 

High-tech rim tape saves weight / fingers

 

Rim tape is an invisible partner to all recumbent trike and bike riders. Rim tape protects the inner tube from sharp hole edges on double-wall rims and spoke-ends on singlewall rims.

On double-wall rims, the rim tape has to withstand extremely high forces, particularly with higher-pressure tires. In addition, its adhesive must resist migration and yet be easily removable when necessary in the future, even years after it was first installed.

Traditional rim tapes dominate in the bicycle industry, and these tapes employ thick woven fabric for their protective qualities. However, the thickness of the tape actually makes the rim well larger and hence makes tire changes more difficult. On the smaller recumbent wheels, this increase in the interior rim diameter is a significant factor causing headaches (and sometimes pinched fingers) for recumbent riders who have to remove their tires and fix their tubes. In addition, the additional weight of the thick cloth is unnecessary and wastes rider energy each time the wheel accelerates.

We have been experimenting with a new high-tech rim tape that uses a super-strength polyester film with amazing rigidity characteristics to keep it from stretching or puncturing under the high-pressure conditions on the inside surface of a bicycle wheel rim. Furthermore, it uses a silicone-based adhesive that has a perfect quality of staying in place while still allowing the tape to be easily peeled off years later.

Three years ago, we installed the tape on our own bicycles and field-tested it ourselves. The results were so good that two years ago we started building all double-walled wheels at AlphaBENT with this tape.

When we had the occasion to rebuild one of these early wheels for very different reasons, we got to see how this new rim tape has been working in regular real-world application for the past two years. The results are an absolutely amazing. The tape shows no degradation, even where it has been pressed at high pressure against the sharp interior edges of the rim continuously since it was first installed. There has been no migration of the tape, and when we peeled it off, it came off readily making our job of rebuilding the wheel easier.

Here are some pictures of the tape before we removed it from the rim.

 

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